Archive for March, 2012

talking with earl

earl scruggs.

In April 2007, I spoke with bluegrass banjo icon Earl Scruggs for a profile piece scheduled to run ahead of a Frankfort concert he was to give later that month. The performance was cancelled, as was the story, and the interview was indefinitely shelved.

With Scruggs’s death on Wednesday, I thought it would be appropriate to post at least a partial transcript of that conversation. We talked about Scruggs’ pioneering 3-finger banjo style, his work with Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and dobro giant Josh Graves, the electric music he produced with sons Gary, Steve (who died in 1992) and Randy in the Earl Scruggs Revue and a few of the folks, like Kentucky’s own J.D. Crowe, that looked to Scruggs as a major inspiration.

Q: What do you, as a concert performer, get out of playing music live for audiences after 40 years?

A: Oh, that’s my livelihood. When I’m onstage, I’m at home. It’s like going around visiting with friends and neighbors.

Q: Is there any way to measure the role family has played in your music throughout your career and what role it continues to play?

A: Well, it’s a real pleasure to get onstage, especially with Gary. And sometimes Randy will be with us. And it was a thrill to work with my three boys when all three of them were with me.

Q: Can you describe the reaction to the progressive, electrified music you made during the ‘70s with The Earl Scruggs Revue for what was, in those days, a very new form of bluegrass?

A: Oh, yeah. Well, I never did like to do the same thing over and over. I don’t even play the tunes the same way twice. I play them the way I feel at the time I’m doing them. That’s the way I’ve always tried to take a show out. You get professionals to play with you so you don’t have to question what they’re doing. You just turn them loose and get the best out of all of them.

Q: We lost Uncle Josh (Josh Graves) last year. What did he mean to you as a player and as a friend?

A: Oh, he was one of the greatest there ever was. Josh Graves – yeah, boy. He didn’t invent the dobro, but he invented it for our type of music and our type of band.

Q: The same could be said you. Your 3-finger banjo style has long been synonymous with bluegrass tradition.

A: It was a natural thing. I didn’t try to work off any formula at all. It was just the talent that the good Lord put in my hands. And I just went with it. What has helped me a lot has been playing with young musicians – and the professionals, too. When you’re onstage with a group of pickers, you feed off of them. I get inspiration out of playing with different guys. I sure do.

Q: You performed in the region with (Irish music veterans) The Chieftains a few years ago…

A: Boy, they are a great group of people. They’re tremendous, professional players. I really enjoyed working with those guys.

Q: Are surprised by the growth and awareness of bluegrass music throughout your career?

A: Not really. It’s amazing how it’s grown. But I think anything good – and I still think bluegrass music is right on top of everything – is going to stay around, especially if it’s played well.

Q: You have performed to predominantly younger crowds in recent years at festivals like Bonnaroo. It must be rewarding to see your music passed down not only through generations of players but through generations of audiences, as well.

A: Oh, yeah. You have to have a turnover of audiences as well as musicians. You sure do.

Q: You have numerous disciples of your music all around the country. You have a very strong one here in Central Kentucky in J.D. Crowe…

A: Oh, he’s one of the greatest. I love J.D. I’ve known him since he was knee high to a duck. He’s knows how the music should sound, so he gets in there and digs it out.

Q: Earl Scruggs and Friends (released in 2001) was your first major album in quite awhile. Did you lose interest in recording or did the right projects not come along to interest you?

A: Oh, it’s a different world now from what it was years ago. We used to cut four singles and one or two albums a year. You don’t do that anymore. We do a CD here and there, a few engagements. That’s about it anymore.

Q: To win Grammy Awards for two different versions of Foggy Mountain Breakdown (in 1969 and 2001) would be a milestone for any artist. But such recognition also speaks well to the durability of that song. What initially triggered the idea for that tune?

A:  I don’t know. It’s a thing that practically wrote itself. It was just a thing I put together way back in the day. It went over good. A whole lot of musicians like to play it, so we kept it in the show.

Q: How important was your tenure with Bill Monroe to the development of your own musical voice?

A: Oh, it was very important. Yeah. When I wet to work with Bill Monroe, he had a tenor banjo player with him and his band sounded altogether different. It wasn’t as organized as it later was. He had guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass and banjo, and that was a great beginning. But Lester and I and the boys, we started adding the dobro in there.

Q: With Lester Flatt, you took bluegrass – be it through radio or on television – into the homes of people who had likely never heard this music before.

A: I realized what was going on, but really, I had no idea what put us where we were. I do remember everything we did kind of moving us another notch in different directions.

Q: Your wife (and manager, Louise Scruggs, who died in 2006) was integral to your career…

A: She was as important a person as ever was in my life. She was the most active person, male or female, I’ve ever known. She would appreciate what we were doing on that day but she was always looking forward to what we could do tomorrow.

Q: Growing up North Carolina, was music and string music plentiful and available to you?

A: No. When I was growing up, I was the only banjo picker around. Well, there were two or three others. But they were all senior to me. They were farmers who played a little during the winter months when they weren’t in the fields. Well, when I came along, radio began to get popular. And I just couldn’t stay out of it. So I came to Nashville and I’ve been to just about every other part of the world since then.

Q: Is bluegrass in a healthy state today?

A: You know, it could be and it could not be. I don’t hear a lot of radio, period. But I what I hear of it on the radio, I enjoy.

Q: Realizing there is still more music ahead for you, how would you describe the artistic life you have enjoyed so far?

A: I couldn’t ask for anything better. My health has been good all the way. I’ve had good support. My boys – Gary, Randy and Steve – and all the members of the bands that have worked with me… I just couldn’t for ask for a better life than the one I’ve had.  

the final four vs. 27 strings

keith medley and the 27 string harp guitar.

When a guitarist goes up against an inner-state NCAA Final Four rivalry  that will be broadcast nationally, there had better be a hefty level of instrumental firepower at his disposal. If not, he can pretty much forget about getting noticed this weekend.

Seriously now, would you want to be performing while Saturday’s Kentucky-Louisville semi-final is being played?

Luckily, Kentucky-born Keith Medley has some rather distinctive musical artillery to show off. His weapon of choice for a solo performance Saturday in Danville is a self-designed variation on the centuries-old harp guitar that boasts 27 strings. Not 6. Not 12. We’re talking an instrument that essentially blends a traditional acoustic guitar with an autoharp and a somewhat mutated harp into a single frame.

Medley, who grew up near Owensboro, has said in interviews that designing the instrument wasn’t difficult. After spending time in Nashville playing funkified R&B and, of course, country, he quit the road and devoted his career to guitar building, design and repair. The big trick has been mastering the ability to play the beast.

Though he has released an independent album titled Ride, the best glimpses of Medley’s 27 string guitar design have come through a series of videos viewable on youtube.

The most arresting clip features an unaccompanied performance of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King played at multiple tempos. The base guitar establishes the melody, sweeps upon the autoharp-like section provide a taste of ancient orchestration and the harp portion fleshes out the composition’s overall lyricism. But Medley is remarkably deft in juggling the instrument’s numerous capabilities. After all, the kind of arm span required to simply reach the different sections of the harp guitar would likely make Anthony Davis proud.

Though the instrument has roots as far back as the 19th century (and much further if you consider the stringed settings the instrument encompasses), Medley’s fascination with the harp guitar began in earnest with a photo of the late Michael Hedges holding an early model. But the multi-neck electric guitars popularized in the ‘70s by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page also had their place in Medley’s design. Other guitarists that have helped introduce versions of the harp guitar to mainstream audiences have included jazz pioneer Pat Metheny.

“The 27 String was designed and built for me to play,” Medley states in an essay posted on his website. “I didn’t build it to sell, or any other ill motive. I am a player. I hear music to play and share as a gift to those who want it. Building is my craft. Playing is my passion.”

Keith Medley performs at 7 tonight at Danville High School Gravely Hall, 203 East Lexington Ave. in Danville. Tickets are $15. Call (859) 319-0773, (859) 319-3016.

in performance: bill frisell trio

bill frisell.

Following a keenly textured and wonderfully turbulent second set last night at Louisville’s Clifton Center where he weaved in and out of boppish swing, a neo-calypso groove and an improvisational segment that ran from the contemplative to the beautifully jagged, guitarist Bill Frisell opted for something a touch more familiar. He ended the performance, in quick succession (save for a very brief encore break) with a lovingly animated take on The Beatles’ In My Life, a reworking of the Hank Williams hit Lovesick Blues as a playful shuffle and a lullaby-like finale of Ol’ Man River that, indeed, kept rollin’ along.

Frisell is probably more versed than any contemporary instrumentalist – guitarist or otherwise – at weaving such an entrancing, vocal-less fabric out of pop, country, Americana and his own immensely literate jazz sensibility. Together with bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen (players that form the backbone of one of his longest running bands), Frisell constructed music based on roots-savvy simplicity.

The three would regularly affix themselves to a tune’s principal melody, repeat like a chant and watch it slowly melt and morph until their own improvisational handiwork could take over.

It was a continually fascinating process to watch. Sometimes, it allowed songs with inherently strident themes and melodic structures to sooth into something almost neighborly sounding, as in Frisell’s treatment of John Lennon’s Mother. Pulled from All We Are Saying…, the guitarist’s splendid 2011 tribute album to the late Beatle, the piece was delivered with an almost country-esque feel.

In other instances, the trio simply built upon the melodic core of a tune, enhancing or subtracting from it every time its chorus flew by. The winner in this category was Lucinda Williams’ Ventura, which floated along with rootsy solemnity until Frisell injected it with a flavorful power chord here or lush ensemble color there.

The ensemble spirit was high all evening long. Bassist Scherr hardly took his eyes off of Frisell, following the guitarist’s leads and solos while adding his own slo-mo blues swing to another (Hank) Williams staple, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. Drummer Wollesen, on the other hand, deftly navigated the extremes of Frisell’s interpretations, like the almost straight blues reading of Bob Dylan’s Masters of War that took several appealing, John Coltrane-ish turns.

Frisell, as always, beamed like the proverbial kid in the candy store throughout the performance. But it was tough to tell which excited him more – the discovery of new interpretive voices for such landmark compositions or the very immediate joy of crafting such music with his friends.

Effective Training Reader Q&A-What Are Adult Learning Principles?

Journal of GXP Compliance April 1, 2010 | Welty, Gordon “Effective GMP” discusses specific good manufacturing practice topics useful to practitioners in compliance and validation. We intend this column to be a useful resource for daily work applications. The primary objective for this column: Useful information.

Reader comments, questions, and suggestions are needed to help us fulfill our objective for this column. Please send your comments and suggestions to column coordinator Troy Fugate at troy@compliance-insight.com or journal coordinating editor Susan Haigney at shaigney@advanstar.com.

KEY POINTS The following key points are discussed in this article:

* What are the principles of adult learning?

* Adults learn differently than children * It is important to determine whether employees have really learned * It is also important to determine whether employees remember the content of their training * Do adults learn differently as they age?

* A program logic model (PLM) provides a systematic way to manage training * Adult learning principles can be applied to an organization’s training programs.

INTRODUCTION A previous issue of “Effective GMP” (Journal of GXP Compliance, Summer 2009, Volume 13, Number 3) identifies and briefly discusses the following key points that should be considered in management of a GXP training program:

* Training policy, standards, and procedures documented * Training process strategy and approach defined * Principles of adult learning theory considered * Training needs analyzed and prioritized by risk analysis * Collaboration of affected groups with defined responsibilities and requirements for each group * Trainees and their organizations are “customers” of training * Training appropriate for task * Training materials and methods appropriate and effective * Qualified training personnel * Training performance * Training effectiveness monitoring and maintenance * Change training if needed * Training documentation * Efficient and cost-effective training * Senior management support training.

Reader Questions The editors of the Journal of GXP Compliance have received many positive comments regarding “Effective Training” including questions about the principles of adult learning. The comments and questions of readers have been consolidated in the following seven questions. Discussion of these questions follows. Each of the discussions contains information that has important implications for learning. These concepts should be considered in training programs to make organizational learning sessions as effective as possible. Questions discussed are as follows:

* What is adult learning theory?

* Do adults learn differently than children?

* How can we tell if employees have really learned?

* How can we tell if employees will remember the training?

* Do adults learn differently as they age – should an adult at age 25 be trained differently than an adult at age 55?

* Is there a single best learning style for training?

* How can adult learning principles be applied to an organization’s training programs?

WHAT IS ADULT LEARNING THEORY?

Adult learning theory and practice became increasingly well known in the United States during the 20th century. There were a number of reasons for this. Industrialization resulted in substantial demands for training and continuing education of adults, those who had already completed their elementary and secondary education. These demands were increased by the development of the science-based industries such as the pharmaceutical and biopharm industries. Adult education became systematized and then professionalized, foregrounding a series of adult learning principles.

Eduard C. Lindeman (1885-1953) was a proponent of this development in the US (1). During the 1920s, Lindeman proposed a set of adult learning principles (see Table I).

Implications For Training Persons responsible for organizational training programs must evaluate the groups they are training to most effectively conduct training. Consider the following:

* Is this training for new hires or repeat training for people who have been doing the job for 20 years?

* Will the trainees be doing this work for one week and then be released, or will they be doing this work for an extended period – like one year?

* What are the perspectives of the individuals to be trained? Are they highly educated and experienced pharmaceutical scientists or newly hired workers without any background in the industry?

Each of these questions suggests differences in motivation, orientation to leam, experience, self-direction, and individuality – any of which may greatly impact the effectiveness of training. Training programs use the word “training.” Perhaps they should be termed ‘learning” to better focus on their true objective – learning.

DO ADULTS LEARN DIFFERENTLY THAN CHILDREN?

It is a principle of adult learning theory that adults learn differently than children. Indeed, the term “pedagogy” derives from the Greek paidagog??s, meaning a (male) child’s tutor. Pedagogy literally means the teaching of children. Malcolm S. Knowles (1913-1997) became a prominent spokesperson for adult education and training after World War II, following the lead of Lindeman and others such as Carl R. Rogers (19021987) (2). Influenced by a Yugoslavian adult educator Dusan Savicevic, Knowles began to use the term “andragogy” to mean the teaching of adults (3).

Knowles stressed the difference between the education and training of children (pedagogy) and the education and training of adults (andragogy) (4). He argued that there are a number of dimensions along which adult learning differs from that of children (5). These include self-concept, experience, readiness to learn, orientation to learning, and motivation to learn (see Table II).

The similarities and differences between Lindeman’s adult learning principles and those of Knowles are clear. For instance, an important similarity of the two is the focus on the experiential base for adult learning. A point of major difference is Knowles’ stress on vocational learning, a focus that Lindeman did not share (6).

Implications For Training The implications of Knowles’ principles for training are also clear (7). There are two implications that should especially be stressed. The training process should recognize and utilize the independence of the trainee as a self-directed person (8) and the trainee’s experiential base.

The author of the training materials should develop the materials to engage the trainee as a self-directed person, as well as to utilize the experiential base that the trainee brings to the training situation. This means, for example, that a supervisor reading a procedure to an audience of trainees is a poor approach to training – it implies that the trainees are not adults and that they cannot read for themselves. Better the trainees to have the opportunity to read over the procedure a day or two in advance and then use the training session to discuss the implications of the procedure for the trainees’ workplace activities.

Likewise the author of the assessment materials should develop a pre-test to assess the trainee’s actual experiential base so that it can be brought into the training situation in a systematic fashion. Technical training is a response to some performance gap on the part of employees. No gap means no training is needed. Requiring employees to participate in unneeded training has a negative effect on the organization’s bottom line. Let the employee “test out” of a proposed training session. Testing out is a cheaper, better, and faster way for the organization to meet its training requirements. The organization can devote the training resources that would have otherwise been utilized to put this employee in this training session to a better purpose.

The trainer should facilitate the trainee’s engagement in the training session by utilizing the trainee’s experiential base whenever possible.

HOW CAN WE TELL IF EMPLOYEES HAVE REALLY LEARNED?

The best way to address this question is to begin by acknowledging the complexity of the issue. There are a number of dimensions of learning; there are several kinds of memory; there are multiple environmental and cultural factors; and there are methodological differences between various studies of learning across the lifecycle (9). All these bear on an answer to the question.

Dimensions Of Learning In the 1950s, in a series of publications called the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Benjamin Bloom (19131999) and his colleagues distinguished three domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (10). Within each domain are several categories. For instance, within the cognitive domain are the categories of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (1 1). These categories are ordered: to know a fact (i.e., recall or recognition) precedes comprehending that fact, etc. Within the affective domain are the categories of receiving inputs, responding to inputs, valuing inputs, organizing values, and internalizing values. These categories are also ordered: to receive an input (phenomenon) precedes responding to that input, which in turn precedes valuing that input, etc.

In the late 1990s, two of Bloom’s colleagues, Lorin W Anderson and David R. Krathwohl, coordinated a revision of the taxonomy of the cognitive domain, analyzing the domain in terms of two dimensions. These are the knowledge dimension and the process dimension.

The knowledge dimension has four categories: factual knowledge, conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge, and meta-cognitive knowledge (12). These are all nouns.

The process dimension has six categories: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. These are all verbs. Like Bloom’s earlier categories, these categories are ordered (13).

This permits the development of a taxonomy table that facilitates the development of behavioral objectives (see Table III).

The appropriate cell in this table is identified for each training objective. For example, a behavioral objective for equipment cleaning might be “At the end of this training session, the trainee will be able to identify any visible residue that remains on the equipment.” Every behavioral objective situates its assessment of trainee proficiency with the phrase “At the end (i.e., time) of this training session (i.e., place) the trainee (i.e., the performer) will be able to. . .” The remainder of the sentence is specific to this particular behavioral objective. The term “identify” refers to the process category remembering, specifically to the sub-category recognizing. The phrase “visible residue that remains” refers to the knowledge category factual, specifically to the sub-category specific detail. The factual condition is a lack of cleanliness on the equipment. When the training has been successful, trainees will demonstrate that success by recognizing the factual condition that there is a visible residue on the equipment (should one exist) and identifying the residue as such to the trainer.

This analytical approach to the development of behavioral objectives ensures that they not only articulate with the operational process that is being trained to (in this case, the cleaning process), but the structure of adult learning theory as well.

Leaving aside for a moment the domains of affective learning and skills acquisition (psychomotor learning), it is clear that there is a complex set of dimensions of learning that must be considered if one tries to answer the question about variation in cognitive learning over time during adulthood. Which aspects of learning will be measured to determine if there is a change in learning over the adult lifecycle?

HOW CAN WE TELL IF EMPLOYEES WILL REMEMBER THE TRAINING?

Even though we do a good job of presenting training, how can we know that the trainees will remember the training and use the training when they do their jobs? This leads to a discussion of the dimensions of memory.

Dimensions Of Memory Turning from the complexities of the learning domains, the processes of memory are just as complex (see Figure 1). The supposition that there exists a unitary memory has been abandoned decades ago in favor of the concept of the fractionation of memory (14). Different kinds of memory involve different systems within the brain (15).

Short-Term Memory. Alan D. Baddeley and his colleagues have proposed a multi-component system of short-term or working memory. This model proposes an attentional control element, supported by phonological and visuospatial perceptual systems (16). It has become the dominant conception in the field of short-term memory studies. This is clearly a complex construct made up of multiple dimensions.

Long-Term Memory. Turning then to long-term memory, it is comprised of two elements: the procedural and the declarative memory systems. As Eric R. Kandel has put it, “Procedural and declarative memory differ dramatically. They use a different logic (unconscious versus conscious recall) and they are stored in different areas of the brain” (17).

Procedural memory is an implicit form of memory, whereby performances can be elicited without conscious thought. The procedural memory system is related to a skill, such as motor or cognitive performance; an example would be operating a hi-lift pallet truck in a warehouse. Within procedural memory, the priming system involves increased sensitivity to stimuli due to previous experience, which occurs outside of conscious awareness. Classical conditioning involves two events, repeatedly occurring close together in time, producing the same response, again outside of awareness. Habituation involves a decrease in response to a stimulus when the stimulus is repeatedly presented.

Declarative (including episodic and semantic) memory, by contrast, is an explicit form of memory, where facts are stored and can be recalled and “declared.” Within declarative memory, the episodic memory system is related to the location or time of a personally experienced event; an example would be the content of a particular training event that this trainee attended. Within declarative memory, the semantic memory system is related to facts that are not based on any personal recollection of episodic memory. An example would be identifying a major pharmaceutical company mat has been subject to merger and acquisition within the past three years.

Hence, long-term memory is also a complex construct made up of multiple dimensions. It is not possible to do more here than sketch the implications of these complexities – of learning domains, of short-term and long-term memory – for the study of variation of learning across the lifecycle. adultlearningtheory.net adult learning theory

DO ADULTS LEARN DIFFERENTLY AS THEY AGE?

Should an adult at age 25 be trained differently than an adult at age 55? This leads to another question: do adults learn differently as they age – for example, an adult at age 25 vs. an adult at age 55?

One of the major research projects addressing the relationship between aging and learning is the Seattle Longitudinal Study. This study began in 1956, under the direction of Klaus Warner Schaie (18). It is a longitudinal study of five mental abilities: verbal meaning, spatial orientation, inductive reasoning, numeric ability, and word fluency (see Table IV). This study provides evidence that there is little or no significant decline in these abilities during normal aging until the mid-to-late sixties, and this decline is slow until the eighties (19).

There are further studies that bear on the question. Verhaeghen’s meta-analysis of the relationship between aging and vocabulary scores in 210 articles found substantial and positive age effect in vocabulary scores between younger adults (study level mean age 21 years) and older adults (study level mean age 70 years) (20).

In Michael R?¶nnlund and his colleagues’ Betula study, longitudinal and cross-sectional data from largescale representative samples revealed a decline in declarative memory performance after age 60, especially in episodic memory. However, no episodic decline was apparent before that age, and semantic memory tended to improve up to about age 60 (21).

Bopp and Verhaeghen’s meta-analysis of the relationship between aging and verbal memory span in 123 published studies found significant differences in memory span between younger adults (study level mean age 21 years) and older adults (study level mean age 70 years) (22).

Thus the question initially posed (whether adults learn differently as they age – between age 25 and age 55) could be answered with somewhat more confidence if it were rephrased to be between age 21 and age 70. Even if the question were rephrased, however, the complexities remain.

Implications For Training If there is little or no decline in mental abilities, then the training content and delivery does not need to be revised to accommodate employees of various ages. The trainer should be specifically aware of the difference between the trainability of a particular employee and the experiential base that employee is bringing to the training situation. The fact that the employee, of whatever age, does not find the training content compelling may mean that the trainer must attend more carefully to change management issues around this standard operating procedure (SOP) or the training being conducted.

IS THERE A SINGLE BEST LEARNING STYLE FOR TRAINING?

This question leads to a discussion of learning styles and models of learning styles. A learning style is a habitual method a person tends to employ when acquiring knowledge, attitudes, or skills (23). There are numerous models of learning styles. These models are usually analyzed in terms of a continuum that ranges from a conception of fixed learning styles to a conception of flexible learning styles. An early example of such analysis is Lynn Curry’s “Onion Model” (Figure 2) that literally used the image of an onion to show the range of models of learning styles from models that highlight cognitive personality style (the most fixed), through those that highlight information processing style, to those that highlight instructional preferences (the most flexible) (24).

Another use of a continuum to analyze the range of models of learning styles is found in Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 Learning: A Systematic and Critical Review (25). This comprehensive review of the various models identified five “families of learning styles,” located along a continuum as follows (see Table V).

One of the major models of learning styles is the VAK modalities model of Rita Dunn and Kenneth Dunn, based on the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (VAK) modalities of sense perception. Frank Coffield and his colleagues located this model in the “Constitutionallybased” family of learning styles. The Dunn model (see Table VI) employs more than 20 variables, including environmental variables (e.g., seating design), emotionality variables (e.g., motivation), social factors (e.g., group structure), as well as perceptual preferences (e.g., the VAK modalities) (26).

Thus learning styles cannot be reduced to the single dimension of modalities of sense perception. Moreover, the several modalities are not ordered – in particular, the kinesthetic modality does not dominate the other two.

Another model of learning styles that may prove particularly relevant to GXP training is the Felder-Silverman model, the Index of Learning Styles (ILS). The ILS model was specifically oriented to chemical engineering audiences. This model has four dimensions or continua: sensing and intuition, visual and verbal, active and reflective, and sequential and global (27). The development of this model was influenced by several other models (see Table VII).

The ILS has been the object of a number of validity and reliability studies (28). In the Felder-Silverman model, it is clear that sensory modalities are one dimension of learning styles, and active/reflective learning is another (presumably orthogonal) dimension. Thus seeing, hearing, and touching are sensory modalities with a trainee tending towards one or the other as learning style. Whether the trainee also tends toward a more active, engaged learning style, or remains with a more reflective style, is quite a different issue. Whether performance on either dimension relates to trainee proficiency is open to question. As Felder and Brent have put it “What is needed is solid evidence that either supports or refutes claims of the effectiveness of those methods in achieving the desired outcomes” (29).

Implications For Training It is possible to draw several implications for training from the ILS and the study of learning styles. The following paraphrase Felder and Spurlin (30):

* The ILS (or any other instrument) can provide guidance to trainers on the diversity of learning styles within their training sessions. They can orient the training accordingly.

* The ILS (or any other instrument) can help instructional designers create courseware that addresses the learning needs of all of the trainees.

* The ILS (or any other instrument) can give individual trainees insights into their possible learning strengths and weaknesses. They can then strengthen weaker areas, if they so decide.

* Learning styles reflect the trainee’s preferences; they are not infallible indicators of a trainee’s strengths or weaknesses in either the preferred or the less preferred categories of a dimension.

* Learning styles (as measured with the ILS or any other instrument) should never be used to predict trainee performance, or to draw inferences about what trainees are and are not capable of doing.

HOW CAN ADULT LEARNING PRINCIPLES BE APPLIED TO AN ORGANIZATION’S TRAINING PROGRAMS?

The discussion has addressed the principles of adult learning and its ramifications to organization training programs. How are these principles of adult learning integrated into an organization’s training program?

Program Logic Model An adult learning program such as a GXP training program can be described in terms of a program logic model (31). Such a model includes the following:

* Input variables, a set of qualitative or quantitative variables that describe the initial state of the program (i.e., trainees and their level of task proficiency) * Program preconditions, relatively invariant program elements without which the program could not exist (e.g., training budget, facilities, etc.) * Program process, a set of program elements that act upon the variables and transform the initial program states into terminal program states * Output variables, the set of variables descriptive of intended program change as well as a record of the terminal state of the program * Program objectives, which represent the standards against which program performance is to be compared (see Table VIII).

For example, consider a training program for the sanitizing of controlled areas. The trainee measures could be proficiency in reducing the level of microbial contaminants in the controlled area. The input criteria for this measure would be trainee lack of proficiency in sanitizing activities and environmental monitoring (EM) data indicating unacceptably high levels of microbial contaminants. These criteria identify the “gap,” mentioned earlier, that is the trigger for technical training.

The preconditions include the trainee qualifications to participate in the sanitization training, the trainer’s qualifications, and the availability of the requisite time, place, and materials (e.g., sanitizing agent, yarn mops, personal protective equipment, etc.) Under process, the trainer activities would include conveying the training content to the trainees in the familiar steps of structured on-the-job training: describe, show, invite trainee’s practice, invite performance, and assess proficiency. Trainee activities could include using the double bucket method, preparing the sanitizing agent, using the appropriate personal protective equipment, etc. Process criteria, for example, include the specific sanitizing agent and solution, Nitrile gloves, etc. They also include criteria for trainer activities such as conformity with familiar adult learning principles as noted – recognizing the independence of the self-directed trainee as well as the trainee’s experiential base, and so forth. In particular, the trainer must not read the sanitization SOP to the trainees.

Finally, under outputs, the criteria include the assessment session wherein the trainee demonstrates proficiency in sanitizing activities and EM data that now fall within acceptable limits.

This illustrates how adult-learning principles can systematically fit into a GXP training program and serve to improve the delivery of the training content by directing the trainer’s activities during the session.

CONCLUSIONS Several points are clear from this discussion. Persons responsible for organizational training programs must assess the groups they are training to most effectively conduct training. There are many differences among employees that can impact the effectiveness of training, and they should be taken into account to make training be as effective as possible.

The training process should recognize and utilize the independence of the trainee as a self-directed person, and consider the trainee’s experiential base. The training materials should engage the trainee as a self-directed person, as well as utilize the experiential base that the trainee brings to the training situation. Likewise the assessment materials should include a pre-test to assess the trainee’s actual experiential base so that it can be brought into the training situation in a systematic fashion. The trainee should be engaged in the training session whenever possible by drawing upon the trainee’s experiential base.

The evidence regarding trainability of adults at various stages of the lifecycle is quite complex, but die argument can be made that there is little or no significant decline in ability during normal aging until the mid-to-late sixties, and this decline is slow until the eighties.

The study of learning styles has several implications for training. A measure of learning styles can provide evidence on the diversity of learning styles among employees, as follows:

* Instructional designers can develop courseware that addresses the learning needs of all of the trainees * Trainers can orient the training appropriately * Individual trainees can gain insight into their learning strengths and weaknesses, and they may strengthen weaker areas, if they so decide.

Learning styles are not infallible indicators of a trainee’s strengths or weaknesses in either the preferred or the less preferred categories of a dimension. Learning styles, however assessed, should never be used to predict trainee performance or to draw inferences about what trainees are and are not capable of doing.

Adult learning theory and practice can demonstrably improve an organization’s training activities and should be carefully reviewed by both training staff and line management to make training and learning as effective as possible.

[Sidebar] TABLE I: Lindeman’s principles of adult learning.

Motivation As adults experience needs and interests that can be satisfied through learning, they are motivated to learn Orientation to learn Adults have a life-centric orientation to learning Experiential base The richest source for adult learning is experience Self-direction Adults need to be self-directed Individual differences Individual differences increase with age [Sidebar] TABLE II: Dimensions of Andragogy vs. Pedagogy.

Self-concept The maturing person’s self concept moves from one of being a dependent personality toward one of being a self-directed human being Experience The maturing person accumulates a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource for learning Readiness to learn The maturing person’s readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental tasks of his social roles Orientation to learning The maturing person’s time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and accordingly the orientation toward learning shifts from one of subject-centeredness to one of problem centeredness Motivation to learn As a person matures, the motivation to learn is internal [Sidebar] ARTICLE ACRONYM LISTING ILS Index of Learning Styles PLM Program Logic Model SOP Standard Operating Procedure VAK Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic [Reference] REFERENCES 1. Eduard C. Lindeman, The Meaning of Adult Education, NY: New Republic, 1926. On Lindeman’s adult learning principles, see also Malcolm S. Knowles, Elwood F. Holton, III, and Richard A. Swanson, The Adult Learner: The Definitive Chssic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, Burlington, MA: Elsevier, 2005, 6th ed., pp. 39-40. See also Jay Thornton and James C. Fisher “Eduard Lindeman’s Challenge to Adult Education,” Proceedings of the 13th Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community Education, Larry Martin (ed.), Milwaukee, WI, October 13-15, 1994, pp. 198-203. go to website adult learning theory

2. On Lindeman, see Malcolm S. Knowles, The Making of an Adult Educator, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989, p. 8. On Rogers, see Dennis L. Boyer, “Malcolm Knowles and Carl Rogers,” Lifelong Learning,Vol. 7, No. 4, Jan 1984, pp. 17-20; Carl Rogers, “To Facilitate Learning,” Innovations for Time to Teach, Mal Provus (ed.),Washington, DC: National Education Association, 1966, pp. 4-19; and Carl Rogers, “The Interpersonal Relationship in the Facilitation of Learning,” Humanizing Education, Robert Leeper (ed), Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1967, pp. 1-18.

3. Malcolm S. Knowles, The Making of an Adult Educator, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989, p. 79. See also Dusan Savicevic, Adult Education, NY: Peter Lang, 1999.

4. Malcolm S. Knowles, The Modern Practice of Adult Education: Andragogy versus Pedagogy, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1970.

5. See Malcolm S. Knowles et al., Andragogy in Action. Applying Modern Principles of Adult Education, San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1984, p. 12. The precise number has varying accounts; David M. Kaufman “Applying Educational Theory in Practice,” British Medical Journal, Vol. 25, No.326 (7382), Jan. 2003, pp. 213-216, holds that Knowles had seven principles. Sally S. Russell, “An Overview of Adult-Learning Processes,” Urologie Nursing, Vol. 26, No. 5, Oct. 2006, p. 349-350, indicates that Knowles had six.

6. See James C. Fisher and Ronald L. Podeschi, “From Lindeman to Knowles: A Change in Vision,” International Journal of Lifelong Education, Vol. 8, No.4, Oct.-Dec. 1989, pp. 345-353.

7. Knowles addressed the topic of training directly; see his “Where does Training Fit into the Adult Education Field,” Training and Development Journal, Vol. 33, No. 12, Dec. 1979, pp. 40-42; also Timothy G Hatcher, “An Interview with Malcolm Knowles,” Training & Development, Feb. 1997.

8. D. Randy Garrison, “Self-Directed Learning: Toward a Comprehensive Model,” Aduli Education Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 1, Fall 1997, pp. 18-33.

9 Some of the methodological issues are reviewed in Christopher Hertzog and John R. Nesselroade, “Assessing Psychological Change in Adulthood: An Overview of Methodological Issues,” Psychology and Aging, Vol. 18, No. 4, 2003, pp. 639-657 10. See David R. Krathwohl and Lorin W. Anderson, “Bloom’s Taxonomy,” Psychology of Classroom Learning, Eric Anderman (ed.), NY: Macmillan, 2009, Vol. 1, pp. 107-110. See also Anita Harrow, A Taxonomy of Psychomotor Domain: A Guide for Developing Behavioral Objectives, NY: David McKay, 1972; E. J. Simpson, The Classification of Educational Objectives in the Psychomotor Domain, Washington, DC: Gryphon House, 1972; and David R. Krathwohl, B. S. Bloom, and Bertram B Masia, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, the Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook II: Affective Domain, NY: David McKay, 1973.

11. See Benjamin S. Bloom (ed), Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain, NY: David McKay, 1956, pp. 62-200.

12. The category “metacognitive knowledge” refers to the knowledge involved in the selfs planning of task completion, especially learning tasks. This process is to be distinguished from the process of task completion itself. Metacognitive processes include the executive functions of the brain such as self-instruction for task completion and self-monitoring of performance. As Munby and his colleagues have put it, “metacognition refers to higher order thinking that involves knowledge of one’s cognitive functioning and active control over one’s cognitive processes while engaged in a learning task.” See Hugh Munby, Nancy L. Hutchinson, and Peter Chin, “Workplace Learning: Metacognitive Strategies for Learning in the Knowledge Economy,” International Handbook of Education for the Changing World of Work, R. Maclean and D. Wilson (eds.), Berlin: Springer (2009), p. 1765. See also Hugh Munby, Joan Versnel, Nancy Hutchinson, Peter Chin, and Derek Berg, “Workplace Learning and the Metacognitive Functions of Routines.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 1-5, 2002; and Hugh Munby, Joan Versnel, Nancy Hutchinson, Peter Chin, and Derek Berg, “Workplace Learning and the Functions of Routines,” Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2003, pp. 94-104.

13. See Lorin W. Anderson and David R Krathwohl (eds.), A Taxonomy for Learning Teaching and Assessing, NY: Longman, 2001.

14. See Alan D. Baddeley, “The Psychology of Memory,” The Essential Handbook of Memory Disorders for Clinicians, A.D. Baddeley, M.D. Kopelman and B.A. Wilson (eds.), NY: John Wiley, 2004, Chap. I1 Also see Nelson Cowan, “What are the Differences between Long-term, Short-term, and Working Memory?” Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 169, 2008, pp. 323-338.

15. But see Charan Ranganath and Robert S. Blumenfeld, “Doubts about Double Dissociations Between Short- and Long-Term Memory,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 9, No. 8, August 2005; also Blumenfeld and Ranganath, “Prefrontal Cortex and Long-Term Memory Encoding: An Integrative Review of Findings from Neuropsychology and Neuroimaging,” Neuroscientist, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2007, pp. 280-291.

16. See Alan D. Baddeley, “Working Memory: Multiple Models, Multiple Mechanisms,” Science of Memory, Henry L. Roediger III, Yadin Dudai, and Susan M. Fitzpatrick (eds.), NY: Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 151-154.

17. Eric R. Kandel, “The Biology of Memory,” The Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 29, No. 41, October 14, 2009, p. 12750. See also Howard Eichenbaum, “How Does the Brain Organize Memories?” Science, Vol. 277, No. 5324, July 1997, pp. 330 – 332: “Cognitive neuroscientists agree that there are multiple forms of memory, each mediated by distinct brain pathways. There is not such ready agreement, however, as to the critical distinctions among types of memory and the contributions of specific anatomical structures to each.” 18. Klaus Warner Schaie, Sherry Willis, and Grace Caskie, “The Seattle Longitudinal Study: Relationship Between Personality and Cognition,” Neuropsychology, Development, and Cognition, Section B, Vol.11, Nos. 2-3 (June 2004), pp. 304-324; also Klaus Warner Schaie, Intellectual Development in Adulthood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. See Richard Seven, “Study on Aging Still Going Strong Some 50 Years Later,” Seattle Times, November 24, 2008.

19. Klaus Warner Schaie, Developmental Influences on Adult Intelligence: The Seattle Longitudinal Study, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 15, also pp. 416-423.

20. Paul Verhaeghen, “Aging and Vocabulary Scores: A MetaAnalysis,” Psychology and Aging, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2003, pp. 332-339.

21. Michael R?¶nnlund, Lars Nyberg, Lars B?¤ckman, and LarsG?¶ran Nilsson “Stability, Growth, and Decline in Adult Life Span Development of Declarative Memory: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Data From a Population-Based Study,” Psychology and Aging, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2005, pp. 3-18.

22. Kara L. Bopp and Paul Verhaeghen, “Aging and Verbal Memory Span: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, Vol. 6OB, No. 5, 2005, P223-P233.

23. See Alina M. Zapalska and Helen Dabb, “Learning Styles,” Journal of Teaching in International Business, Vol. 13 Issue3 and 4, 2002, pp. 77-97, esp. p. 79.

24. Lynn Curry, “An Organization of Learning Styles Theory and Constructs,” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Quebec, 1983; see also Learning Styles in Continuing Medical Education, L. Curry (ed.), Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association, 1983, pp. 115-131. Curry has gone on Lo develop a more refined conception that includes three elements which, in taken together, define a learning style. These three are the method of motivational maintenance, the level of task engagement, and cognitive control functions; see L. Curry, “Patterns of Learning Style Across Selected Medical Specialties,” Educational Psychology, Vol. 11, Issues 3 and 4. 1991, pp. 247-278.

25. Frank Coffield, et al., Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 Learning. A Systematic and Critical Review, London: Learning and Skills Research Centre, 2004, p. 11. As they put it (p. 10): “Our continuum is based on the extent to which the developers of learning styles models and instruments appear to believe that learning styles are fixed.” 26. Kenneth Dunn, Rita Dunn, and G.E. Price, Learning Styles Inventory, Lawrence: Price Systems, 1997; also see Rita Dunn, “Multisensory Instructional Packages,” Insights on Learning Disabilities, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2009, pp. 17-19. The model “incorporates twenty to twenty-one elements dependent on the age-appropriate assessments administered;” see Rita Dunn et al., “Impact of Learning-Style Instructional Strategies on Students’ Achievement and Attitudes,” Clearing House, Vol. 82, Issue 3, Jan/Feb 2009, p. 136.

28. Richard M. Felder and Joni Spurlin “Applications, Reliability and Validity of the Index of Learning Styles,” International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2005, pp. 103-112; also Thomas A. Litzinger et al., “A Psychometric Study of the Index of Learning Styles,” Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 96, No. 4, 2007, pp. 309-319.

29. Richard M. Felder and Rebecca Brent, “Understanding Student Differences,” Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 94, No. 1, January 2005, pp. 57-72, esp. p. 69.

30. Felder and Spurlin, op. cit., p. 110.

31. See Leslie J. Cooksy, Paige Gill, and PA. Kelly, “The Program Logic Model as an Integrative Framework for a Multimethod Evaluation,” Evaluation and Program Planning, Vol. 24, 2001 pp. 119-128; also Nancy L. Porteous, Barbara J. Sheldrick, and Paula J. Stewart, “Introducing Program Teams to Logic Models: Facilitating the Learning Process,” Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2002, pp. 113-141. See also Robert L. Schalock and Gordon S. Bonham, “Measuring Outcomes and Managing for Results,” Evaluation and Program Planning, Vol. 26, 2003, pp. 229-235; and Knowlton Johnson, Carol Hays, Hayden Center, and Charlotte Daley, “Building Capacity and Sustainable Prevention Innovations: A Sustainability Planning Model,” Evaluation and Program Planning, Vol. 27, 2004, pp. 135-149.

[Author Affiliation] ABOUT THE AUTHOR Welty, Gordon

earl scruggs, 1924-2012

earl scruggs.

What Bob Dylan was to folk music songcraft, what Miles Davis was to jazz trumpet, so was Earl Scruggs to bluegrass banjo. He was a stylistic maverick, to be sure. There are multiple generations of instrumentalists – and you can bet Lexington’s own J.D. Crowe would be proud to count himself among them – that were inspired (if not completely transformed) by Scruggs’ famed 3 finger banjo style. But Scruggs – who died yesterday at age 88 – was way, way more than just a role model.

With a career defining ‘50s and ‘60s partnership with Lester Flatt behind him, Scruggs entered the 70s by teaming with his sons and mixing bluegrass with electrified doses of rock, jazz fusion and, at times, even funk. The bluegrass faithful at the time were dumbstruck. But just as Dylan and Davis were simultaneously cheered and lambasted for daring to invest their respective musical traditions with electricity, so was Scruggs. This was clearly a soul not content to spend the rest of his days playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown, even though he won a second Grammy for a reworked, all-star recording of the tune in 2001 (his first came in 1969).

My first exposure to Scruggs came as a child. It wasn’t through his pioneering work with Bill Monroe in the late ‘40s, but through cameo appearances in ‘60s episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies. Some today might slight the program for enforcing tired rural stereotypes. But here is news for them: there was nothing remotely stereotypical about Earl Scruggs.

I got to interview Scruggs only once. It takes distinction, because it was one of my few interview pieces not to get published. We talked in April 2007 ahead of what was to have been a festival performance in Frankfort. The concert was cancelled well ahead of its proposed show date, so the story was scrapped. The idea was to hold it for whenever he played in the region again. He never did.

I’ll post a partial transcription of that interview in a few days. Until then, give a listen to one of these three definitive – but wildly different – Scruggs albums: 1963’s Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall (arguably the duo’s finest recorded hour and certainly one of the all-time great bluegrass concert recordings), 1973’s The Earl Scruggs Revue (the solidification of the banjo icon’s new generational music) and 2003’s Three Pickers (a sublime, no frills acoustic string summit with Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs). The recordings span nearly 40 years but all boast the brilliance of possibly the most versed banjo voice of this or any age.

FEEDER WARS: How to get rid of ‘bad’ birds

February 12, 2006 | John McCoy johnmccoy@wvgazette.com A well-stocked bird feeder can be a delight to behold. Dozens of brightly colored birds flit about, competing for perch space and life- giving sustenance. web site how to get rid of gas

But sometimes the bullies come.

Pigeons, starlings, grackles and house sparrows have an annoying habit of muscling in and dominating feeders. If they’re not crowding out the cardinals, chickadees and goldfinches, they’re covering the ground surrounding the feeders with droppings.

“It’s the old desirable-undesirable dilemma,” said Randy Urian, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Barboursville. “How do you continue to attract the ‘desirable’ birds while discouraging the ‘undesirable’ ones?” It’s a question Urian hears all the time.

“I get a lot of complaints, particularly about pigeons, starlings and house sparrows,” he said. “They tend to be the birds we’re asked about most frequently.” All three species have adapted well – some say too well – to living in and around human populations.

“Pigeons, in particular, seem to be more problematic in cities and towns,” Urian said. “They’re attracted to structures such as bridges and billboards. As long as food and shelter are nearby, you’ll find them. And since they’ve adapted to our presence, they’ve learned to eat the stuff we put out for other birds.” Because pigeons prefer to feed on the ground, Urian suggested keeping seed sources off the ground. “It doesn’t hurt to keep the ground under the feeders as clean as possible, either,” he added.

Clip-on trays mounted below tube-style feeders help to catch falling seeds and keep the ground clean. One-inch wire mesh “pigeon and squirrel guards” also help keep larger birds from getting to the feeders.

House sparrows and starlings are more difficult to get rid of. Their smaller size and ability to perch allow them to compete directly with most common feeder species.

“And they’ll eat just about anything,” Urian said. “The key to keeping them away is to avoid giving them their favorite foods, which are cracked corn and white millet.” Most commercial seed mixtures have at least some millet in them. Urian said the better mixtures tend to minimize the amount of millet and maximize seeds that attract more desirable species. go to website how to get rid of gas

“Blends heavy in black-oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds and niger [thistle] seeds are best for attracting the songbirds most people like to watch,” he said. “With them, you’ll get birds such as cardinals, titmice, goldfinches, purple finches, chickadees and nuthatches.” The bottom line, Urian added, is to increase feeder use by “good” birds and reduce use by “bad” birds.

“There’s no magic to this,” he said. “There’s no guarantee that any of these measures will completely stop undesirable birds from coming to the feeders, but there’s a good chance they’ll help to reduce the number.” John McCoy

critic's pick 221

The tip-off comes with the cover photograph to Billy Hart’s splendid new All Our Reasons album. It depicts a wintry, nocturnal glimpse of New York silhouetted and accented by cosmopolitan glows. It’s a noteworthy shot for many reasons, not the least of which is that it cements the continental and stylistic expansion of the European ECM label, an organization that helped nurture a sound (and with its often luscious album photography, a visual representation) of jazz that was open, mysterious and atmospheric. Critics only half-jokingly referred to the resulting music as “Nordic” in nature.

All Our Reasons is hardly the first North American view of an exiled sound. After all, Keith Jarrett has recorded for the label for over 35 years. Also, such renegades as Dewey Redman, John Surman and, for a time, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, have cut ECM albums. But All Our Reasons may well stand as one of the more formidable recent examples of what the label can generate outside of the icy Nordic soundscapes.

The album-opening Song for Balkis employs a patient, distant sounding rumble as a preface for a spacious serenade that engages the plaintive tenor sax lead of Mark Turner (of ECM’s Fly trio) and the more restless piano orchestration of Ethan Iverson (from new generation strategists The Bad Plus). What you experience is a spacious, loose-limbed and deliciously moody ambience that quickly brings to mind another ECM giant who, like Hart, has helped cultivate similarly open-ended jazz in a number of New York ensembles – the late Paul Motian.

Turner, in particular, echoes the kind of varied, shape-shifting sax accents that Joe Lovano designed for Motian’s long running trio with guitar great Bill Frisell. Turner offers two fine originals on All Our Reasons that wonderfully embellish this very American-ized take on the ECM sound: Nigeria (which begins with slo-mo bass fills from Ben Street before developing into expertly fragmented swing) and Wasteland (where the slow bounce of his own tenor sax figures is the very depiction of solo blues within a New York nightscape).

Iverson works efficiently in and out of the quartet boundaries with Ohnedaruth, where his sparse and initially somber piano meditation breaks through the clouds for a Turner led-jam with Hart discreetly playing from the passenger seat.

At 71, Hart is no grandstander. Sure, he can sound demonstrative on the McCoy Tyner-esque Tolli’s Dance. Mostly, though, he follows a lighter, more introspective muse throughout All Our Reasons. One might suspect it’s the original ECM spirit calling from across the ocean. But All Our Reasons isn’t that nostalgic. It has four resourceful instrumentalists and a playground as big as all of New York to forge a music that is both familiar and new.

LuBear Corp. Touts CIAA Athletes Training at Navy SEAL’s Base. see here navy seals training

Entertainment Close-up May 16, 2011 LuBear Corp. announced that five teams of Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association athletes hit the water and scaled walls as part of their training in April at the U.S. Navy SEALs’ Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Company said Chowan University, St. Paul’s College, Bowie State University, St. Augustine’s College and Virginia State University players all got a taste of the rigors of training with the SEALs in a 12-foot-deep, Olympic-size pool and on the Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Confidence Course, a 17-station land obstacle course.

The training–part of a “Mental Toughness, Never Quit” campaign conducted by the SEALs for CIAA schools–occurred April 16-17. The event was a follow-up to on-campus seminars at the CIAA schools in February and March. here navy seals training

According to a release, the “Mental Toughness, Never Quit” program, focusing on schools in the CIAA–the nation’s oldest black athletic conference, established in 1912–was developed as part of the Naval Special Warfare’s effort to attract top minority talent. More than 1,000 athletes from 11 schools attended the on-campus “Mental Toughness” seminars.

The goal of “Mental Toughness, Never Quit”–which includes goal-setting, visualization, positive self talk and 4x4x4 breathing skills–is to provide valuable training to athletes while making them aware of potential career opportunities within the SEAL Teams. The SEALs provided players with a unique look into how mental preparation is essential to winning.

SEALs take their name from the environments in which they are trained to operate: sea, air and land. Their small highly trained teams usually work quietly at night conducting missions. SEALs are constantly deployed throughout the world to protect U.S. national interests.

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

in performance: the mceuens/the snyder family band

the mceuens: nathan, john and jonathan.

It was family night at this week’s taping of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio at the Kentucky Theatre. One ensemble on the bill was an essentially new (but altogether unassuming) enterprise led by one of country/Americana music’s most formidable instrumentalists. The other was a little known unit (as least in Central Kentucky) rooted in bluegrass tradition that, despite the youthfulness of its key players, exhibited a remarkably mature stylistic range and technical prowess.

The McEuens (sometimes billed as the John McEuen Trio) featured Nitty Gritty Dirt Band banjo ace/multi-instrumentalist John McEuen and his guitarist sons Jonathan and Nathan. There was a touch of the Dirt’s eclecticism in the repertoire, which shifted from a poignant telling of Dan Fogelberg’s father/son requiem Leader of the Band to the West Coast bluegrass reflection Hills of Sylmar to an acoustic retelling of the 1984 Rodney Crowell-penned Dirt Band hit Long Hard Road (Sharecropper’s Dream). (All three tunes will be featured on the trio’s debut album, which is due for release next week.)

But the McEuens kept the solos to a minimum, save for a brief banjo blast by Daddy McEuen during Hills of Sylmar. In fact, the elder McEuen stayed purposely in the background. He added discreetly to the group’s loose, animated ensemble sound (on guitar and mandolin as well as banjo) but appeared quite content to let his sons’ capable vocal leads and harmonies handle the heavy lifting within this very homegrown music.

Also on last night’s bill was North Carolina’s Snyder Family Band, a group that placed another patriarch, bassist Bud Snyder, behind the leads of 13 year old daughter Samantha (on fiddle) and 16 year son Zeb (on guitar).

Zeb Snyder proved to be a quiet little terror as a soloist. His warp speed solos were as dazzling as anything offered by even high profile bluegrass contemporaries. But his playing didn’t seem consumed solely with technique. The instrumental harmonies he created with sister Samantha’s spry leads were appealing in numerous settings – be it in the traditionally flavored exchanges from the fiddle tune staple Sally Goodin’ or the borderline jazz runs that emerged during a swing-savvy arrangement of the J.J. Cale fave Call Me the Breeze.

The band also has something of a show stealer in 6 year old Owen Snyder, who confidently delivered a verse of The Glendy Burke as a cameo. Obviously, the youngest Snyder needs a few years just to allow his voice to develop. But the kid was obviously at home onstage. To possess the ability to appear so natural and relaxed in performance mode at such a young age is almost intimidating.

john mceuen’s family affair

john, jonathan and nathan mceuen.

 John McEuen is willing to play the role of proud father but so far.

Ask the renown banjoist, multi-instrumentalist and longtime member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band about his current recording and touring rounds with guitarist sons Jonathan and Nathan McEuen and he will beam, but with a studied, discerning slant. He speaks fondly of their musical abilities and the sheer fun he experiences when making music with them. But the “cute” factor, that kind of blind pride that comes from placing familial ties ahead of artistic ingenuity? Daddy McEuen will have none of that.

“Jonathan and Nathan were first getting onstage with me when they were around 9 or 10,” said McEuen, 66, who performs with his family trio in Lexington on Monday for a performance at the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. “And even then, I’d only get them up there if they could do something and not just be a bunch of cute kids onstage.

“Of course, they were cute. They were damn cute kids. I always resented them for that. I was a dork at their age. When I was 10 or 11 and my parents would move to a new town, I kept trying figure out why I was getting picked last for sports teams. It was always, ‘OK, who gets the new kid?’ I just thought, ‘Can’t you just let me swing the bat and fail first?’

Such candid and whimsical remembrances are keys – disarming ones, but keys nonetheless – to McEuen’s ageless Americana appeal. Since 1966 (save for a 15 year break between 1986 and 2001), he helped animate the extraordinary cross-generational country music of the Dirt Band. As a producer, he won a Grammy (in 2010) for helping illuminate the banjo profile of one of America’s greatest funnymen, Steve Martin, with his album The Crow. And outside of the Dirt Band, McEuen has cultivated numerous Americana inspirations with the multi-stylistic String Wizards.

But the increasing visibility of work with his sons, which takes a huge step forward with the release of their first album together, The McEuen Sessions: For All the Good, McEuen is returning to his roots while simultaneously pushing forward – and having a blast in the process.

“After all these years, people kept going, ‘Why haven’t you made an album together?’ And the answer is that until right about now, it wasn’t time. Nathan is 31. Jonathan is 35. They both have become men of honor and professional talent.

“But I’m not doing this because they are just okay. That wouldn’t do me any good. I’ve been very lucky in that I have received a lot of good reviews on the stuff I do. I wouldn’t say it is has been as commercially successful as my music with the Dirt Band. But audiences seem to like it. And top of that, Jonathan, Nathan and I are just having a great time.”

In a way, the songs on For All the Good are an extension of the traditional and progressive string music blend pioneered by the Dirt Band, but with a lighter, more folkish feel. In fact, McEuen purposely chose to highlight that link at the album’s onset by covering the Dirt Band’s first No. 1 single (released in 1984), the Rodney Crowell-penned Long Hard Road.

“I wanted to touch on the Dirt Band on our new album and spent a lot of time trying to think of the right song. Then it became so obvious. Long Hard Road should be done acoustic and folky. It was our first No. 1 hit. Nobody has recorded it since we did. It hasn’t been on the radio in forever. In a lot of ways, it was like being in the Dirt Band during the ‘70s going, ‘Hey, we just found this Buddy Holly song that nobody has ever heard of.”

While McEuen is known primarily as one of Americana music’s most skilled and industrious banjo players, his ongoing work with his sons has helped rekindle his playing on guitar, mandolin and occasionally fiddle (“I’m no Kentucky fiddler, but I get by”).

Curiously, he was forging a voice on guitar until he heard Doug Dillard take up the banjo with The Dillards when the California-born McEuen was still in his teens.

“I started playing the banjo because of The Dillards,” McEuen said. “When I first saw them, I was about 17.  I went, ‘Now, that’s what I’m looking for,’ because I was really looking for a way to get out of Orange County.”

In fact, it was through Dillard that McEuen was introduced to bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin and the crafty banjo ace that was by his side during the ‘50s and ‘60s – namely, a young Lexington player by the name of J.D. Crowe.

“How did I find out about J.D. Crowe? Well, one night – and I remember this distinctly – I was hanging out with The Dillards. Doug was walking from his dressing room to the stage and played the entire banjo lick from You Don’t Know My Mind (the 1960 single the Dirt Band would later cover with Martin on its landmark 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken). I had never heard a banjo lead on the 4-string like that. I was like, ‘What was that? What did you just play?’ And Doug said, ‘It’s J.D. Crowe, man. Go check him out.’

“No question. When you’re talking bluegrass banjo, you’re talking J.D. Crowe.”

The John McEuen Trio performs with the Snyder Family Band at 7 tonight at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main, for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. Tickets are $20. Call (859) 252-8888. John McEuen will also play on May 19 at Renfro Valley with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. For information, go to www.renfrovalleycom.

in performance: lexington philharmonic with time for three

zach de pue, ranaan meyer and nick kendall of time for three. photo by journey group.

Timing, as the saying goes, is everything.

Take, for example, the promise made by Zach De Pue, co-violinist for the progressive string trio Time for Three at the conclusion of the Lexington Philharmonic’s Kicked Back Classics program Thursday night at the Downtown Arts Center. The deal? That the full collaborative performance the following evening at the Singletary Center for the Arts would finish prior to the start of the NCAA Sweet 16 square-off between Kentucky and Indiana.

As it turned out, Time for Three managed the impossible last night by deterring a sizable Singletary crowd from hoops in favor of a wildly eclectic bill labeled somewhat generically as Americana. In truth, the repertoire, and its frequently animated execution, often steered outside those boundaries.

Rooted as much in jazz, bluegrass and pre-bluegrass country as classical music, De Pue, fellow violinist Nick Kendall and double bassist Ranaan Meyer offered that rarest of combos in any genre – a mix of accessibility, youthful daring and serious chops. All were on display with and without the orchestra last night in compositions that luxuriated in stylistic variance and performance dynamics.

On the quieter side was a ballad-heavy medley titled The American Suite that opened with two Meyer works (Wyoming 307 and Forget About It) that morphed from cello-like expression on the bass to melodies reflecting the spirited playfulness of vintage Appalachian fiddle tunes. But the suite downshifted dramatically for Leonard Cohen’s sublime Hallelujah, a modern spiritual with a funereal feel. The chorus melody was passed among the trio members and, eventually, to the Philharmonic without losing the tune’s inherent but haunting intimacy. A light-hearted Orange Blossom Special (prefaced by an overly hot-doggish jazz bass intro by Meyer) closed the medley.

But for pure playfulness, nothing matched a free-for-all arrangement of Brahms’ familiar Hungarian Dance No. 5. Taken at a pace that ran from brisk to maddening, the arrangement detoured into a medley of Fiddler on the Roof tunes, some of which placed De Pue and Kendall in serious cross-bowed counterpoint on the same violin. Sure, it was showboating. But not once did the trio’s technical prowess slip during this wonderfully cartoon-like joyride.

The Philharmonic addressed the evening’s Americana feel in somewhat more traditional terms with a nicely expansive performance of the very compressed thematic/orchestral suite from the Aaron Copland ballet Billy the Kid. But music director and conductor Scott Terrell’s biggest treat was a beautifully performed arrangement of Kurt Weill’s Symphonic Nocturne (from Lady in the Dark), which deftly moved from wintry lyricism to bolero-like drama to robust melodic runs that possessed the melodic pageantry of a more traditionally minded show tune.

Terrell also deviated from the Americana-based program at the concert’s onset by dedicating an unannounced Nimrod (from Elgar’s Enigma Variations) to Lexington arts patron, pianist and philanthropist Teresa Garbulinska Saykaly, who died earlier this week. While Nimrod is a common memorial piece, the Philharmonic packed a lovely, reserved elegance into the composition’s brief (roughly four minute) running time.

Time for Three encored with a similarly pastoral reading of Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek that closed the performance at 9:41 p.m. – nearly 15 minutes before the UK-Indiana tip off.

 Timing, as it turned out, was indeed everything.

gwarmongers

gwar.

Last year at this time, Jamison Land was making a living driving a truck. A hard rock enthusiast and Louisville native (although his family re-located to Lexington for a year during his early childhood), he found venues and opportunities for full-time music employment were scarce. Then came GWAR.

The veteran Richmond, Va.-based metal band is heavily costumed, theatrical, satirical and, at times, quite topical in its music and performance presentation. Think Kiss but far more outrageous. When a vacancy in the GWAR ranks became available last August, Land – who was already friends with the other band members – got the call to join.

“I had already known the guys for maybe 10 years,” said Land, who makes his Lexington debut with GWAR Saturday at Buster’s Billiards and Backroom. “It was still a pretty big deal, though.

“I had a band I was working with in Louisville for awhile called The Burial. We did pretty well, but some of the guys moved away. I was driving a truck for awhile after that and wasn’t doing a lot of music. Then I got the call.”

GWAR members don’t go by their real names. Each is a specific character with a mythology that has been built upon since the band formed in 1984. Among the character names (at least the ones we can print) are Oderus Urungus (still played by lead vocalist and founding member Dave Brockie), Balsac the Jaws of Death (portrayed by rhythm guitarist Mike Derks since 1988) and the role that bassist Land landed in – Beefcake the Mighty.

“I’ve be listening to GWAR and going to GWAR shows since I was 15,” Land said. “So I knew the character. But the first day, especially, I was kind of nervous. The first day, we played a big show here in Richmond. That was my first time wearing the costume and we were doing all of these meet-and-greets. I didn’t really know what to do exactly. But, hey, I can’t complain because I could still be driving a truck. I’m actually making less money now, but I’m way happier.”

Album titles like Scumdogs of the Universe, We Kill Everything, You’re All Worthless and Weak and Lust in Space are good indicators that GWAR is not exactly G-rated fare. Neither is one of the more extreme (but undeniably amusing) theatrical trademarks of its live shows – namely, the onstage ridicule (which extends to faux-disembowlings and beheadings) of stagehands dressed as newsmakers of the day from political as well as entertainment arenas. Such simulated subjects have included Sarah Palin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hillary Clinton, Michael Jackson, Snooki, Paris Hilton and Lady Gaga.

“We pretty much think anything is up for us to make fun of,” Land said. “That’s the way it should be.”

But the effect was decidedly different when death hit GWAR is very real terms last fall. In November, guitarist Cory Smoot, who had played the role of Flatus Maximus for nearly a decade, died on tour from complications of coronary artery disease. The remaining GWAR members have since retired the Maximus character and are touring as a four-piece band (drummer Brad Roberts completes the current lineup).

“After Cory’s death, we had to come together. It was awful, but we still had to make things happen. We wanted to make sure Cory’s family was taken care but we also had to make sure we didn’t go out of business. We had songs to write for the next album. We had a tour to get through. We had a lot of stuff to do. But we’re doing the best we can.

“We’re all in good spirits. We’re doing better than some bands could have done under these circumstances. That’s for sure.”

GWAR performs at 8 p.m. March 24 at Buster’s Billiards and Backroom, 899 Manchester St. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 day of show. Call (859) 368-8871 or go to www.bustersbb.com

americana time

nicolas kendall, zach de pue and ranaan meyer of time for three. photo by vanessa briceno-scherzer.

Having an orchestra draw upon Americana inspirations – be it through collaborations with the genre’s instrumental pioneers or performances of its most established compositions – isn’t entirely new. But scan the repertoire of Time for Three, the industrious string trio that teams with the Lexington Philharmonic this week, and you will find songs that ensembles and symphonies, regardless of their Americana inclinations, have to view as a touch foreign.

Like what, for instance? Like an outrageously dramatic arrangement of Kanye West’s Stronger, an elegiac reading of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and a stark but lovingly regal take on Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek. Match that with a jazz-inspired concerto composed by Chris Brubeck that Time for Three performed with the Boston Pops at the trio’s Carnegie Hall debut earlier this month and you have a set of entirely new classical crossover possibilities.

“The thing this music provides us that is really wonderful is a little more freedom and flexibility interpretively,” said violinist Zach De Pue, who, along with fellow violinist Nick Kendall and double bassist Ranaan Meyer, makes up Time for Three. “And that really helps us in approaching material by Kayne West as opposed, to say, Beethoven.

“But it’s funny. A guy like Beethoven… we have such a pre-conceived knowledge of what his music should sound like. But if you read about his interactions with string quartets, he seems pretty rock star-esque.

“Because we are playing modern repertoire, we’re able to utilize an approach that I honestly think is not that far off from the way you play Beethoven. You embrace the personality, you embrace the style, the rhythm, the groove… all these things. With any type of artist, our job is to utilize our technique to capture that spirit. There is always that dialect within every type of artist and their material that we try to capture.”

Formed as a means of extracurricular fun when its members were studying at the Curtis Institute for Music in Philadelphia, Time for Three represents numerous influences that fall well outside the spectrum of what is considered classical music. Meyer, for instance, has a longstanding love of jazz and improvisational music while De Pue and Kendall have favored more Americana-inclined shades of bluegrass and country.

“I grew up with three brothers,” De Pue said. “We all played violin and we all grew up playing Appalachian-style fiddle contests in the summertime. My brother Alex continued the art form and got really deep into Texas style fiddling.

“There is a whole style of American roots music and folk music that has been born and bred here on this land. The same thing happened in Europe with great composers embracing the music of their lands. But you’re really seeing a lot of that in this country coming from guys like Mark O’Connor and Edgar Meyer (no relation to Ranaan Meyer). Those guys grew up on roots music and crossed over into classical. Now you’re finding a lot of composers taking pride in the fact that American roots music is a real sound, a real dialect. (Aaron) Copland certainly tapped into that. But I think you are really starting to see the floodgates open to this kind of music. You’re seeing classical supporters get more excited and almost taking ownership of this artistic product because it relates so naturally to us as people.”

By now, classical audiences have become accepting to the works of composers like Copland (who will be represented at tonight’s performance by an orchestral suite from his 1938 ballet Billy the Kid). But West? Heap? Cohen? How does your everyday symphony set respond to that?

“Fortunately for us, the reaction has been very positive,” De Pue said. “We definitely try to bring the artistic level of classical music, and what it takes to put on a classical music performance – the intensity and the focus – to anything and everything we do repertoire-wise, whether it’s familiar or unfamiliar. We try to bring that level of innovation and structure we’ve grown to really love in classical music.

“So far we’ve had success with that. But any time you’re being truly innovative, certainly some things may work and some things may turn a classical audience off. But we have a great track record so far. Part of that success comes from continuing to work diligently and tirelessly to make sure all of this music works at a high level.

“What that really comes down to, I guess, is being open to anything at any time musically. So who knows where the next step will take us.”

The Lexington Philharmonic with Time for Three performs tonight at the Downtown Arts Center as part of the Kicked Back Classics series (7 p.m., $15) and Friday for a full concert at the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall (7:30 p.m.; $25-$52). Call (859) 225-0370 for the DAC program or (859) 233-4226, (888) 494-4226 for the Singletary concert.

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